LIVESTOCK-CME hog futures slide again to contract lows, down 10% on the week

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO, May 26 (Reuters)Chicago Mercantile Exchange pork futures fell again on Friday as weak demand for U.S. pork continued to push prices down.

The losses weigh more heavily on producers who have battled low hog prices and high expense costs such as feed and labor.

“Producers are losing their backs,” said Dan Norcini, an independent livestock trader.

Retail pork prices remain too high to increase consumer demand, Norcini said. Smallholders and independent farmers could leave the industry unless demand improves, he said.

“Grocers need to start aggressively presenting pork or we won’t have anything but the big boys,” Norcini said.

Some large companies are already reduce operations in North America.

Olymel of Canada, one of the country’s largest pork processors, said it will reduce its western sow herd by 30% to 40,000 sows in production.

Closing sow farms will result in a net reduction of about 200,000 market hogs a year to a slaughterhouse in Red Deer, Alta., from company-owned farms, Olymel said. The impact will be felt in 2024 at the earliest.

(Reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar)


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